Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

healthy living~ trying some new vegetables & friuts

With our meal plans 70% vegetable and fruits we are starting to get just a little bored with same selections over and over.  Usually consisting of green beans, snap peas, grape tomatoes, celery, baby carrots, brussel sprouts, and baby bell peppers or peas; and the fruit mainly apples, grapefruit, bananas, and cantaloupe.  Getting ready to shop this past weekend, I decided to look  and see what the most nutritious vegetables and fruits are and then give us a change of pace.   


Most Nutritious Vegetables

High in nutrients-these vegetables are pretty much nutrient powerhouses. 

Endive, 1 head raw (15.9g fiber!
Collards, 1 cup boiled
Kale, raw 1 cup chopped
Escarole, 1 cup cooked
Artichoke, 1 cup, globe (French), cooked
Broccoli, 1 cup cooked
Spinach, 1/5 cup cooked
Turnip Greens, 1 cup chopped

Medium in nutrients

Squash, 1 cup, summer, cooked, from fresh
Green Beans, 1 cup, snap, green, cooked
Cauliflower, 1 cup cooked
Asparagus, 1/2 cup cooked
Mushrooms, 1 cup raw
Green Beans, snap, cooked, 1 cup steamed

 Most Nutritious Fruits & berries (and lowest in carbs)
Acerola, raw, 1 cup
Guava, 1 fruit, raw
Cantaloupe, 1 cup raw
Currants, 1 cup raw
Blackberries, 1 cup raw
Raspberries 1 cup raw
Boysenberries 1 cup raw
Dewberries 1 cup raw
Gooseberries, 1 cup raw
Strawberries, 1 cup
Kiwi, 1 fruit
Orange


The only fruit on the list that I had no idea what it was is Acerola ---also known as the Barbados cherry,and Amazon Cherry is a shrub that contains small red fruits, 1/2" ro 1" in diameter. These tangy fruits are loaded with vitamin C, containing 1000-2000 mg per gram in ripe fruit (potentially even more in almost ripe fruits). Acerola is often used in beverages for flavor and to boost vitamin C. Acerola is grown throughout south and central America, and has been harvested in the US as a source of vitamin C (in Florida).  Now I just to find out where to buy some and try it. 


Here are a couple of great websites I use to calculate recipes and find the nutritional data on foods.

Calorie Count: Free Nutrition Data on More Than 200,000 Foods

Welcome to SparkRecipes, amoung other things they have a recipe calculator that gives you the calories, fat, and nutrition info; all you do is enter the ingredients.


Monday, May 30, 2011

10 THOUGHTS ON WHOLE LIVING -- june

I decided to see if I could scan the page for 10 Thoughts on Whole Living so everyone could see how beautiful they are in the Whole Living Magazine- I hope you enjoy.


(10 Thoughts by Terri Trespicio- Martha’s Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine- June 2011 issue)

this week's picture & links

i love this card sent to me by a dear friend~ it makes me smile everyday
(illustrated by Tim Bowers)
_________________________________________________________
what's new elsewhere... click on the links and take a peek at my other blogs

Thursday, May 26, 2011

being green~plastic fruit containers

I love dates and blueberries, so I end up with a couple of the clear plastic clamshell containers each month. At a loss on what to do with them, (besides just dumping them into the recycle bin) I did a little research and found a few ideas.-- I liked the first one best, especially if I can use other repurposed items to decorate them.

How to reuse plastic clamshell fruit containers
  • Dress it up and use it as a gift container for homemade goodies or candy
  • Cut off the lid and use the bottom for seedling planters (keep the lid to slide underneath and catch water)
  • Blueberry containers would make a nice half or mini sandwich container in a lunch box
  • Try using them in a child’s art project
  • Store sewing or craft notions
  • Donate your plastic containers to a local farmers market or farm
  • Donate them to the art teacher at your child’s school 
  • Make a mini Easter basket
  • Use as a strainer for small bath toys
  • Create a mini colander to rinse fruit and veggies from your garden
  • Use them to store homegrown fruit and veggies in the refrigerator
  • Kids love containers; give your child one of these and put their imagination to work (to hold trinkets, as a doll-house bed, Barbie hot tub, crayons, crafts, knick-knacks, etc.)
  • Make a homemade stencil by cutting a design into the lid of a container 
My favorite use for them is little gift boxes, I shred old wrapping paper
 or cut up old ribbon for the filler.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

meal ideas ~ a twist to scalloped potatoes & ham

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
To cut carbs, this homey favorite features a trio of potato, turnip, and sweet potato slices instead of all potatoes.

1/2 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 medium round red potato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup water
8 ounces low-fat, reduced-sodium cooked boneless ham, cut into thin strips
  Paprika

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For sauce: In a medium saucepan, cook onion in a small amount of boiling water over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Drain; return to pan. In a screw-top jar, combine milk, flour, and pepper; cover and shake until well mixed. Add milk mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in rosemary.

2. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart microwave-safe baking dish, combine potatoes, turnip, and the 1/4 cup water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100% power (high) about 8 minutes or just until vegetables are tender. Carefully drain in a colander.

3. In the same 2-quart baking dish, layer half of the ham, half of the potato mixture, and half of the sauce. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

meal ideas~ make vanilla extract

Making your own Vanilla Extract is extremely easy, and is much less expensive than purchasing it. And more importantly... I know the quality of the ingredients it was made with.
 First you need premium grade vanilla beans to get a good product. (Not the dried up ones you find in the stores sometimes). Not all vanilla beans are created the same!

- 3-4 whole organic Vanilla Beans
- 1 cup vodka (traditional) or sometimes I use brandy or bourbon  

Split Vanilla Beans lengthwise with a knife, leaving the seeds inside intact. Place Vanilla Beans in a large jar, cover with alcohol, and cap tightly. Agitate the mixture by shaking the jar daily for 4-6 weeks. You can infuse the Vanilla Beans for as long as you would like, and add new Vanilla Beans to make a stronger extract.

Once that the flavor of the extract has reached the desired strength you will need to strain the resulting extract out of the jar and into new bottles. To make the bottles even more alluring, you can insert a new Vanilla Bean into each bottle and create a decorative label. Vanilla extract will last indefinitely, and will become even more aromatic and flavorful as it ages. Homemade Vanilla Extract may be used in exactly the same manner as commercial Vanilla Extract. 

 You can also make vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of white, granulated sugar. Great way to infuse the sugar with vanilla flavor for baking.

from beginning to end-- i love to watch the color deepen

Monday, May 23, 2011

every breath you take

When was the last time you sat down and just noticed your breathing? If you travel through life at warp speed, with more on your plate than time allows, pausing to tune in to your breath might seem like a luxury you just can’t afford.

But the act of simply noticing your breathing is a powerful state of being. And it can actually save you time and shift your energy to a place of personal power and grace.

Consciously noticing your breathing helps you develop the skill of being more present and aware in the moment. Stopping to notice your breathing creates conscious pauses in your day that allow you to be more connected on all levels: body, mind, and spirit. It can help you access your own inner compass when you make decisions…and to learn the difference between ego, fear, and inner guidance.

Going through life on autopilot diminishes your personal power, whereas conscious attention nurtures and expands it. We make better choices that match who we really are — rather than being pushed along by the whims of others, who may not have our best interests at heart. Pausing to breathe consciously helps us have greater clarity, energy, and present mind. Plus, being conscious in the moment is a state where we can articulate more clearly what we truly need — and ask for help to get it done.

So when is the best time to practice conscious breathing? Anytime. You’re building that habit over time so it’s something you will go to when you need it most. Those times include when you’re overtired, feel confused, or overwhelmed. When you are on a deadline and feel like you just can’t get it all done…that’s another great time to tune in to your breathing. Or when you need to find your center in a difficult emotional situation. 

Our breathing and emotions are deeply connected. When you are anxious, you will not breathe in the same way as when you are calm. Conscious breathing helps you be more connected and present so that all parts of you work together more gracefully as a balanced whole. And it helps you to be more aware of what is going on around you. Slowing down and getting off that merry-go-round for a few minutes can often be enough to shift your reality in a profound way.

Try it now. Simply stop and sit quietly for a few minutes. Just breathe normally and notice your breathing. Notice how your breath goes in and out. Notice the speed and depth of your breathing and what you are feeling. Just notice.

And then, try this, a trick I learn from Dr. Andrew Weil – “conscious breathing”.
Reverse your breathing pattern- start with the “exhaled” breath through the mouth, mentally counting to 1 to 5 and immediately “inhale” through the nose and counting from 6 to 10. Your next exhale… is again 1-5 and so forth.  

Very relaxing, and I have substantially lowered a high blood pressure reading by simply doing this for 3 minutes.

Happy breathing….

this week's picture & links

a very happy little elephant
______________________________________

what's new elsewhere... click on the links and take a peek at my other blogs

Thursday, May 19, 2011

being green~ our phone calls may be killing bees

One of my biggest environmental and wildlife concerns is the demise of the Honeybee.  Bees are a vital part of the way that food is grown in the United States; they pollinate as much as thirty percent of the U. S. food supply and their work is something that most farmers rely upon.  Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that we are facing a disaster. The Bee Colony Collapse Disorder has killed off about 29 percent of all of the bees in the United States over the past year, and the bees that are dying are dying so quickly that replacement has not been possible. With this in mind, and understanding the importance of the role of bees to crop production, it may be that we will be seeing the end of many different fruits and vegetables in the United States.

The worldwide decline in the honeybee population has been closely watched and documented by scientists, and has for the most part been attributed to chemical toxins, such as the controversial hive-killing pesticide clothiadin. This study is the first to present hard evidence of a technology-based cause for the bee-apocalypse.  Please read the article and if you need more information click the attached link to the PDF of the study itself--- then, the next time you think about using your cell phone, think about the possibility of this being true. If there is even a slight possibility (that’s enough for me) restrict your phone usage to only a vital need. I like to eat fruits and vegetables…and I like flowers and trees.

Our Phone Calls May Be Killing the Bees
By Angela Braun – wildlife reporter

Soon we may face the serious conundrum of having to hang up moblie phones to save the honey.  A new Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study has concluded that cellular phone calls disrupt a vital honeybee communication signal (known as "worker piping"), causing the bees to become terminally confused and die (a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder).

The worldwide decline in the honeybee population has been closely watched and documented by scientists, and has for the most part been attributed to chemical toxins, such as the controversial hive-killing pesiticide clothiadin. This study is the first to present hard evidence of a technology-based cause for the bee-pocalypse.

Scientists point out that the ever-growing disappearance of honeybees may have devastating ripple-effects for the environment and for the world's human population. Since 70% of food crops are pollinated by honeybees, the prevalence of Colony Collapse Disorder among bees could easily impact agriculture and world hunger. 

Wildlife and environmental protection advocates at Citizens for Safe Technology have had a long-standing mission to alert the public to the possible dangers of wireless technology:

Wireless devices and technologies, and the infrastructure required to support them, are endangering not only human biology, but all natural processes in our environment as well. Wildlife and the environmental systems they depend on to survive. We can all take immediate steps to lessen the damage we are causing from using wireless technologies.

The latest evidence pointing to the toxicity of cell phones has them currently raising this question:

"With the impending introduction of 4G to add to the mix...how will nature fare? Will the income from the sale of 4G frequencies make up for the loss in food production and the collapse of the honeybee?"



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

meal ideas ~ hearty chicken & bean casserole

Hearty Chicken and Bean Casserole
Sometimes, I use one can of Northern Beans and one can of Black Beans or Kidney Beans; for added color. Actually, for this recipe you can use almost any style of bean you wish. If you prefer not to have all the sodium of canned beans, then make up a batch of fresh, using about 8 oz of dried beans, soak and cook, add when indicated in recipe.

2  (15-oz) cans rinsed and drained Great Northern beans
1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
6  chicken thighs (about 2-1/4 pounds total), skinned
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
1 stalk celery, sliced
2  cloves garlic, minced
1 14-1/2-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
6 ounces light, cooked smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces  **(very optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (amt depends on how spicy you are feeling- optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; reduce heat to medium-low. Brown chicken about 10 minutes, turning once to brown both sides. Remove chicken from skillet. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from the skillet.

Add carrots, onion, celery, and garlic to drippings in skillet. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in drained beans, undrained tomatoes, sausage, thyme, salt, and, if desired, cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange chicken thighs on top.

Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Makes 6 servings (1 chicken thigh with about 3/4 cup bean mixture per serving) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

healthy living ~ fabulous mask & facial

I love using natural ingredients on my face. I truly believe the less we pile on our skin the less aged it will look, both these recipes are wonderful and your skin will love you for using them.

Soy Mask with Mint
This is a good mask for dry skin because it does not over dry it. The peppermint essential oil will also clarify the skin

¼ cup soypowder
¼ cup unflavored yogurt
1 to 2 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix the soy powder and unflavored yogurt to make a paste; then add the peppermint essential oil. Pat on your face and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse off with water. Look at the glow. 
***No shelf life; make and use.

Rosemary’s creamy milk facial
This is an amazing moisturizing facial right from your kitchen
 
¼ cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup honey
4 tablespoons powder milk
2 drops rosemary essential oil

Heat the honey slightly to make it easier to mix, then blend it with the mayonnaise, powdered milk (do not add water to the milk, use it in its powdered state), and rosemary oil. If it is too warm from the honey, let it cool a few minutes first, then stir again and apply to your face. relax for 15 minutes then wash off.
 ***No shelf life, make and use.

Monday, May 16, 2011

the Moon

The Moon will be full tomorrow night. I love all phases of the moon, but none more than when it is at its fullest. As I was going through my pictures, I also had a flash of memory of this poem from Robert Louis Stevenson. As with many of his great poems, its simplicity is as beautiful as a moon peeking through my trees on a stormy night.


The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson
The moon has a face like the clock in the hall; 
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
 
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
 
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.
 

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
 
The howling dog by the door of the house,
 
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
 
All love to be out by the light of the moon.
 

But all of the things that belong to the day
 
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
 
And flowers and children close their eyes
 
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

this week's picture & links

slowly crossing the lines......

______________________________________________________________

what's new elsewhere... click on the links and take a peek

don't forget to visit the new Picture Pages on the site: Journey-

Friday, May 13, 2011

MousesHouses-a must see

MousesHouses
A blog and Book recommendation--- 5+ stars

  
I happened upon a wonderful blog site a few months back called “MousesHouses” by a creative artist named Maggie Rudy. She has been making mice and their world out of felt and scavenged materials for twenty years. She spent part of her childhood living in England, where she visited Beatrix Potter’s farm during a formative third-grade field trip. Maggie now lives in Portland, OR.  

I would love to post several of my favorite scenes from the site, but do not want to infringe on Maggie’s’ copyright. So, please take the time to peek into maggie’s mouse world, it will be worth the few moments of scrolling.
 I promise!

Also, she recently has published an adorable book titled:
The House that Mouse Built


Thursday, May 12, 2011

being green~The Master Multitasker—ice-cube trays

I was out in my garage, looking through several boxes, lo-and-behold, I found a box filled with old ice cube trays. The moving label still on the box indicated that these poor little ‘unused’ trays have been there for at least 17 years. “Why was I saving them?” – Only my inner self can tell you that, I haven’t the foggiest.  However…. It does make for a great subject on “Can that tray be recycled or repurposed?” It can- but before tossing it in the recycle bin, look at these purposes.

The Master Multitasker—ice-cube tray
  • Freeze aloe-vera gel into single-serving sunburn relief. The cubes cool the heat instantly, and then the soothing aloe gets to work.
  • Use a tray for quick access to earring, rings, and necklaces in your dresser drawer or hutch.
  • How about using it as a change sorter that next garage sale you’re having to get rid of your forgotten “stuff”.
  • The cubbies are great for organizing desk supplies, like thumbtacks and paperclips, or sewing notions, like buttons.
  • Fill trays with sprinkles, nuts, and other toppings for a self-serve sundae bar. Or for salad toppings at a potluck.
  • The compartment of a plastic tray makes perfect pots for mixing watercolor at craft time.
  • Use it as a seed starter, perfect size, and right time of the year.
  • Use as a Soap Mold. Designate an ice cube tray and melt-old soaps (from those pieces of now it’s too small to use in the shower)  in the micro and pour into the tray making new soaps that are the perfect size for a guest bathroom or gift giving. 
  • To make a batch of identical-sized cookies, roll the dough out flat, and then press an upside-down tray into it.
  • For a suppertime shortcut, freeze extra broth, pesto, or other sauces in trays, then transfer the cubes I a freezer safe storage.
  • Instead of water down drinks with melting ice, cool them more tastefully with citrus cubes. Squeeze lemons and limes, pour the juices into trays, and freeze.  And of course that, stock, broth—coffee, cool down hot-hot coffee with a cube of its own—make mini popsicles 
  • Want your homemade chocolates to look professionally made? Then, use an ice cube tray as a candy mold, and all of your confections will be uniform in size.
  • Freeze Leftover Wine, can’t finish that bottle, pour the extra into an ice cube tray, and save it for use in a future recipe. Just pop the desired number of cubes into a pan, and heat; there's no need to thaw them out before use.
  • Have a recipe that calls for egg yolks? Don't ditch those egg whites! Freeze them instead. They can be stored in an ice cube tray, and thawed when needed.
FYI:How much liquid does a cube hold? One ice cube is generally the equivalent of one ounce or two Tablespoons. Here are some conversions to help you determine how many cubes you'll need to use in a recipe:

2 cubes = 1/4 cup
4 cubes = 1/2 cup
6 cubes = 3/4 cup
8 cubes =1 cup

My point... these little trays deserve a long life after their initial purpose is done. I know there has to be hundreds more ideas and uses. Leave some of your ideas in the comment section below-

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

meal ideas~ Sautéed Shrimp and Asparagus



sometimes I just want something, simple, tasty, and light. This one will fit that need. I love the hint of oriental in the dish as well. You can add some spring egg rolls or even a steamed Chinese bun to the menu.

Sautéed Shrimp and Asparagus

1        pound fresh large shrimp in shells (or frozen)
2        teaspoons canola oil
1        teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2        teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2        teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4     cup dry white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
8        ounces fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/4     cup finely chopped green onions


      Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. (Thaw shrimp, if using frozen.)
      In a large nonstick skillet, cook shrimp in hot canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque, turning occasionally. Remove shrimp from skillet; set aside.
     Carefully add wine and asparagus to hot skillet. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add shrimp and green onions to skillet; heat through. Serve with Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta.

Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta: Cook 1 cup dried orzo pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta and reserved pasta water to saucepan. Stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel, 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives, 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until water is absorbed. Serve warm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

healthy living~ recipe for tired eyes

~ eye soothers 
I spent a few years not only working a 12 hour night shift, but then going to school during the daylight hours. Here are a few tricks I picked up that helped to relieve puffiness and dark circles. Apply any of the following to your eyes while reclining and resting for a few minutes.

Eye Mask
This hydrates and tightens skin, diminishes puffiness, and leaves eyes feeling refreshed.

2 teaspoons cucumber or raw potato- peeled, seeded and finely grated
1 teaspoon powdered milk.

Using a mortar and pestle, (or something comparable) combine ingredients into a smooth, think paste and chill for 30 minutes. Add a few drops of ice water if mixture needs to be thinned a bit.

Application: lie down, close eyes, and apply mixture to the entire eye area, including lids. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water--- it is wonderful after a day where your eyes and you just need to relax. Try sipping some relaxing tea.

Other Eye Soothers
  • Cold, damp, black or green tea bags or cotton squares soaked in brewed and chilled tea of any one of the following: catnip, rose petals, chamomile flowers, elder flowers, eyebright, fennel seeds, lavender buds, or blackberry leaves.
  • Thin slices of cold cucumber or white potato
  • Cold, witch-hazel-soaked cotton pads
  • Cold, whole milk-soaked cotton pads
  • Chilled rose or lavender hydrosol – gentle enough to spritz directly into and around eyes or use as an eyewash
  • Chilled, metal teaspoons: the cold temperature constricts blood vessels, decreasing puffiness, redness and irritation. Place 4 teaspoons in ice water to chill. Leave two spoons chilling and take two spoons and apply one to each eye, concave side toward skin, following the contour of the eye socket. When spoons begin to warm, switch them with the spoons still chilling in the ice water. Continue, alternating spoons until puffiness subsides or for up to 15 minutes.

keep your eyes beautiful-- they are the windows to your soul


Monday, May 9, 2011

Spreading happiness ~ smiling

This morning I sat on my porch with my cup of coffee, listening to the birds waking, watching the nocturnal wildlife getting ready to head home to their dens and realized I was smiling—ear to ear- with the joy in my heart.  When I went inside, I spotted my copy of the “Daily Om” and picked it up, as I often do, to see what inspiring thought it presented to me for that moment… and to my surprise here is the page where I opened the book. I felt it was perfect for this morning’s post.

From the Daily OM ~  Spreading Happiness – smiling


The face is a complex palette of emotions. A slight turning up of the lips and a crinkling of the eyes can signal pleasure, contentment, happiness, or satisfaction. In all cases, a smile is more than it seems. A grinning person is often judged more attractive, pleasant to be around, sincere, honest sociable, and inviting, and is considered more confident and successful. Smiling is not a learned action. Even those born blind will have this facial expression when experiencing a joyful moment. A carefree smile is a quick and easy way to tell the world that you are open to new experiences and eager to meet new people.

It is assumed that bright smiles stem from happiness, but research has also shown that genuine joy can stem from them. Even a smile called froth when you do not necessarily feel like smiling can trigger the release of endorphins, brightening your day. This simple act can help relive stress by relaxing your facial muscles and encouraging you to focus on happy memories. And a forced smile, which only involves the muscles of the mouth, can easily turn into a true one, which lights up the entire face. A smile motivated by real happiness is likely to inspire someone nearby to imitate it, possible because of the expression’s origins in the primate grin. The grin, which some scientists believe evolved into the smile, signaled that its wearer was a friend rather than an opponent.

In ancient China, Taoists taught the benefits of the inner smile because they believed it ensured happiness, health, and longevity. A single smile can lessen the sting of a negative mood and bring on a better one. But try not to be self conscious about it- this expression is universal and look great on everyone. A smile, directed inward, outward, or at nothing in particular, uplifts the world and is a gift to those who see it.

DailyOM: 
Inspirational Thoughts for a Happy, Healthy, and Fulfilling Day - Madisyn Taylor

Make a promise right now, this moment, to send a smile to everyone you cross paths with today, no matter who that person is, how that person is acting, or what effect your smile has on the other person. Take a moment and just smile to yourself. Know inside you are getting a blast of endorphins and other benefits that can only make your life better!